The archive of AMATSUCHI KOSAKU (Phase I-Phase VI) will be released in December 2022.
Shizubi Project 7 Archives / The Art Scene in the 1980s Shizuoka
Ayu Ito / Shizuoka City Museum of Art
This art production project in Hamamatsu was formed by two brothers, Makoto and Wataru Murakami, and Yuji Yamamoto. They made a huge structure on a field using natural objects such as trees, straw, stones, and soil, which were passed down from generation to generation. The production was basically worked on for a long time while not being open to the public. There were few opportunities to appreciate their work in ways like orienteering, and in addition, it was not easy to reach the site where their work was, taking a 30-minute walk through overgrown weeds. They displayed their work not only on private land but also at group exhibitions. However, they repeated a series of processes from conception, production, dismantling or destruction (incineration) and recording.
They sent modern concepts of art such as "work", "museums" and "exhibitions" back to the drawing board, and re-sought a form of creative action by human beings.
They have something in common in that they went back to the original question of "why should we create?" and reconsidered the roots of the environment and climate in which they were born and raised.
In time, it was shown that Yamamoto, who had received a higher art education, and the Murakami brothers, who had non-art origins, had slightly different stances. Although they were from the same community, the actual work they produced was done separately.
Their work may resemble land art. However, land art was born as an attempt to expand the framework of art, and their purpose was to raise the earth itself to the realm of art.
It can be said that Amatsuchi-Kosaku is not the same as land art because of their aim for creative action, which dates back to before the creation of art.
In addition, before dismantling their work, they hold a performance called "Shintai Yugi (body play)", which is a traditional form of entertainment passed down in the area.We can see that their activities are positively connected with other study fields such as folklore, cultural anthropology, philosophy, and biology. With apprehension for modern art, during the process of Amatsuchi-Kosaku, labor (production) is performed inwardly as part of daily activities, and it disappears after a certain period of time. The activities themselves have the characteristic of being like a traditional festival (or a covert ritual) where general people aren't allowed to participate. The more closed the work is, the more mysterious it becomes. They irregularly send information to people who want it through a form of media called a "Kosaku (agricultural) Newsletter". This way of disclosing information is somewhat strategic.
Since 2000, more and more artists started to be involved in art festivals that aimed at the revitalization of a local town. They study the history and traditions of the area, and produce works based on them. It is possible to trace back the roots of such artworks to the 1980s, and the works were intended to be "displayed" on the stage of an art festival. Amatsuchi-Kosaku focused on "not being displayed", but rather they thoroughly devote themselves to "local lifestyles"; thus, it is unique in that it cannot be categorized in any context, nor even be retrospectively seen from the present.